Cutthroat trout have been severely diminished across their native range. As the only native trout to the interior West, these species are of critical importance to the conservation of our fishing heritage and our aquatic ecosystems. Removing clean water protections for headwaters and streams is a threat to this species. Image Credit: Josh Metten Photography

Sportswomen know the deal on Clean Water

By Jessi Johnson, Artemis Coordinator

Artemis sportswomen are gearing up to fight the biggest threat to our water in a generation. Not only do many of our sporting traditions rely on clean and healthy waters, but we also believe every American deserves access to clean drinking water.

Artemis co-founder, Kara Armano, with a beautiful cutthroat trout caught from clean and healthy waters
For too many reasons to count, we believe the latest attack on clean water is a terrible idea and want to spread the word about how sportswomen and others can help fight the egregious rollbacks proposed by the Trump administration.

You may recall that, back in February, the Trump administration issued an Executive Order that directs the Army Corps of Engineers and the EPA to rescind and revise the Clean Water Rule. That process has now come to bear and the EPA will begin taking comments on the proposed changes.

The proposed changes direct the agencies to consider using former Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia’s minority opinion that said seasonal streams and many wetlands do not merit protection as a basis for the revision.

If Justice Scalia’s direction is followed, 60 percent of U.S. streams and the majority of the 110 million acres of wetlands across the U.S. could lose Clean Water Act protections; a tragedy for fish and wildlife, hunting and fishing, and clean water.

These invaluable waterways support our fishing and waterfowl hunting, and the several hundred thousand jobs these activities sustain. That’s not to mention the drinking water these headwaters provide to 1 of every 3 Americans.

For too many reasons to count, we believe the latest attack on clean water is a terrible idea and want to spread the word about how sportswomen and others can help fight the egregious rollbacks proposed by the Trump administration

Threatening our water threatens the future of hunting and fishing.

Artemis knows that waterways across the country serve as the incubator for up and coming hunters, and particularly, anglers. Nearly all of us began our angling lives on a small pond or stream, taught by a relative or close friend on a summer day of our childhood. Whether it be a bass pond, a bayou, a lazy river or a rushing mountain stream, these places are the genesis of our sporting lives.

Sportswoman Joyce Shepard showcasing a nice North Carolina brown trout

“Clean waterways support healthy wildlife and ecosystems. Growing up on a trout stream in the mountains of western North Carolina provided an idyllic setting to cultivate love and respect for nature. Whether skipping stones, discovering salamanders, or eating fresh caught trout, these childhood experiences are irreplaceable, and showcase the importance of protecting and conserving small streams and wetland habitat for future generations”, says Liz Rutledge an avid sportswoman and wildlife specialist for the North Carolina Wildlife Federation.

“It is our duty to teach young people our traditions and to protect the resources that sustain them,” noted Christine Gonzales, Artemis co-founder and member of the New Mexico Wildlife Federation. “These smaller tributaries and backwaters are the classroom for the next generation of anglers and waterfowl hunters and the lifeblood of our sporting heritage. From east to west and from north to south, every American has a stake in the health of our waters.”

The negative impacts of rolling back hard won protections for clean water would indeed be felt across the nation particularly in already degraded systems. In Texas, for instance, the impacts of rolling back the Clean Water Rule could be felt all the way down to the Texas Coast. Texas streams and rivers flow into the bays that give life to a multibillion-dollar recreational and commercial fishing industry; without clean, healthy water, the red snappers, trout and bass that sportswomen chase across Texas rivers and bays could be in danger.

Geralyn Hoey, sportswoman and regional representative for the National Wildlife Federation added, “There’s nothing better than standing knee-deep in a Texas river and fishing for trout, bass and perch. Unfortunately, Texas rivers and wildlife are already struggling and our water is already in danger of running out — the last thing we need is to add losing clean water to the list of threats.”

The Llano River in Central Texas Image Credit: Lizzie Jespersen

The time is now to act for our nation’s waterways and for our sporting traditions that rely on them. Please lend your voice and tell the EPA to keep protections in place for our small streams, lakes and wetlands.

Join us today by taking over Twitter to show sportswomen are ready to #DefendWater.

Jessi is the Artemis Sportswomen’s Coordinator. She grew up ranching in Montana, Northern California and Wyoming. Her childhood instilled in her wanderlust for wide expanses of public land, and a deep appreciation for the wildlife that inhabits it. Since moving back to Wyoming 7 years ago she has spent most of her free time archery hunting and exploring the wild mountains of Wyoming. Jessi has worked with the Wyoming Wildlife Federation, the Muley Fanatic Foundation and the Backcountry Hunters and Anglers on everything from fundraising for the mule deer migration corridors to public land campaigns. Artemis proved a perfect fit to her ideals and ethics of hunting. She feels that this group’s focus on breaking the stereotypes that limit open dialogue around hunting and angling is a much needed direction in conservation. She is excited to start this group with a bold and trail blazing attitude and looks forward to building a more inclusive voice in conservation.

Artemis is a group of bold, impassioned sportswomen who are out to change the face of conservation. Learn more here